New Board of Supervisors taps veterans Nelson, Schmitt for leadership posts

‘Embrace the moment,’ Nelson urges, citing county’s fiscal strength, sustainability efforts

Supervisors Tyrone E. Nelson, of the Varina District, and Dan J. Schmitt, of the Brookland District, will lead the Henrico County Board of Supervisors in 2024 as its chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

A wooden dais with 7 people sitting behind it, with laptops. A smaller dais is in front with 2 people sitting at it.

The veteran supervisors were elected by unanimous votes during the board’s organizational meeting Tuesday. Joining Nelson and Schmitt on the dais are newly elected Supervisors Roscoe D. Cooper III, of the Fairfield District; Misty D. Whitehead, of the Three Chopt District; and Jody K. Rogish, of the Tuckahoe District.

In remarks, Nelson thanked his colleagues for their votes of confidence and credited previous boards for their work over decades to give Henrico a strong foundation, with sound fiscal management, low taxes, a customer-focused staff and a robust climate for jobs and businesses.

Photo of a man being sworn-in with his right hand raised, standing at a lectern. A woman is on the other side of the lectern, facing him, holding a piece of paper

“With three new supervisors, we will undoubtedly have fresh perspectives, strategies, thoughts and new ideas for how to best serve our community,” Nelson said. “I would urge us, all of us – as supervisors, staff and community – to embrace the moment that we have and take the time to listen, understand and appreciate what each of us brings to the table. We can do this, and we will do this, because we all take seriously the call to serve the residents of this great county.”

He also called for greater community engagement, saying the county needs to share its “full story” in 2024.

“Let’s aspire to be more connected with our residents, with our stakeholders and commit to telling our story – the county of Henrico’s story. Let’s continue to engage with our community and create the most welcoming place for them to participate and provide input,” he said. “This is the essence of democracy.”

He looked to continue the “tremendous momentum” in protecting the environment and promoting sustainability while noting the work of Henrico’s Environmental Action Resource Team (HEART) and the preservation of the vast Malvern Hill Farm and Wilton Farm properties in Varina. He also teased “another historic preservation announcement” to be made next week.

“I’m not sure there’s another community on the East Coast that can match what we do in that regard,” he said.

Nelson is wielding the chairman’s gavel for the third time, having previously held the post in 2016 and 2019. He served as vice chairman in 2023 and is the board’s most-tenured current member. He is beginning his fourth term, having represented Varina since 2012.

He serves various national, state and local governmental and community organizations, including as chairman of the Greater Richmond Transit Company Board of Directors and as a member of the Capital Region Airport Commission, Richmond Region Planning District Commission, Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors and Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors.

A native of Varina, Nelson earned a master’s degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University, a bachelor’s degree in business administration from VCU and an associate degree in business from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He is the pastor of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Photo of a man being sworn-in with his right hand raised.

Schmitt has served as Brookland supervisor since winning a special election in November 2018 and is beginning his second full term. He served as chairman in 2021.

He serves on various regional boards and commissions, including Richmond Region Tourism, Sports Backers, Sportable and the Greater Richmond Transit Company. He previously served on the board of directors of the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association, including as president. He is the owner of RMC Events and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Richmond.

The Board of Supervisors will hold its regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, except in July, November and December. Meetings are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. – one hour earlier than in previous years – with one exception. The April 9 meeting will begin at 5 p.m. and include a public hearing on the proposed budget for fiscal 2024-25.

Meetings are held in the Board Room at the Henrico County Government Center, 4301 E. Parham Road, and are livestreamed through the Board of Supervisors webpage. Additional information, including archived videos of meetings, is available online.

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